News RoundUp • CTU Prepares for Strike, Another Police Video Surfaces & More

Photo by  Yakub Films

Photo by Yakub Films

CPD Release Another Video of Man Who Died in Custody

In what has become a troubling trend here in Chicago, the police department once again unveiled a dash cam video showing the death of Heriberto Godinez Jr. who, according to the New York Times, died of “'combined cocaine and ethanol toxicity,' but that physical stress from restraint was 'a significant contributing factor.'”

The video, taken last summer in Brigthon Park, shows a Chicago Police officer who has yet to be named placing their foot on the head of Godinez as he flails to get away from officers who detained him while investigating a burglary on the 3000 block of West Pershing. The officers involed were immediately placed on administrative leave.

In a statement, police superintendent Eddie Johnson said: "“As superintendent, one of my top priorities is establishing a culture of accountability at every level of the police department, from top command staff to the rank and file. Holding each other accountable is a central piece to rebuilding the frayed trust between the department and communities we serve,” said Johnson in the statement. “The actions by two officers in the video are concerning, and as a result, I have removed them from operational duties pending the outcome of IPRA’s thorough investigation.”

The latest video comes closely on the heels of another high-profile police-involved shooting death of 16-year-old Pierre Loury.

Chicago Teachers Union Braces for Strike

It's like deja vu all over again here in Chicago as once again, the Chicago Teacher's Union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel barrel towards yet another standoff over budget cuts and re-districting in the city that may just result in a strike if the two sides cannot come to a mutual understanding. 

To date, the CTU has weighed heavily under the Emanuel regime, first dealing with attacks to it's union structure and later dealing with what came to be the largest public school closings in the country's history, signed in by Rahm himself. 

It's safe to say at this point that a sitdown between CTU head Karen Lewis and Emanuel will be tense. The union can legally strike as soon as May 16 and at a rally April 1 in defiance of a city-sponsored fact-finding report, the former declared, "The clock has started."

In a city run by Emanuel and a state controlled by the 1%'s back pocket in Governor Rauner, the CTU faces an uphill, but not unwinnable fight. Four years ago, it seems we were right where we are today. Then, I was helping out at the Chicago Sun Times and reported on Liam Cunningham and Vic Mensa, then of Kids These Days, reporting on the strikes themselves in support of their former Whitney Young teachers. With so much of our current music and larger art renaissance here due so heavily to in-school and after-school programs provided by the members of the CTU, let's hope the fight is not lost on our community this time around either.

Digital Discrepancies Mirror Everything Else in City

A recent research project has found that along with everything else in Chicago, there is a sizable gap between the south and west sides and the rest of the city when it comes to access to high-speed internet. 

According to a study done by the MacArthur Foundation and Partnership for a Connected Illinois, residents in neighborhoods like Brighton Park, West Garfield Park and other areas with distinctly higher poverty levels had a tougher time connecting to broadband-level Internet. The study did say that more people access the Internet via smartphones more often but that limited at-home use made it "far less likely to use online courses, visit government websites, look up political information or access online job applications." The areas mentioned as being less proficient in high-speed internet concurrently also tend to be the more under-served parts of the city generally, experiencing high crime, police misconduct and lack of social services. 

“People who hadn’t been online before are now exploring the Internet on their phones, and that’s exciting. But there are limits,” said Karen Mossberger, an Arizona State University professor and lead researcher on the study. “Reading intensive things, filling out forms — even today with the development of mobile, it’s difficult to do those types of things on your phone.”
— Chicago Tribune

Blue Line Service Interrupted Monday

Service along the Blue Line was interrupted Monday morning during the height of rush hour after a man fell on the tracks near the Belmont stop, halting movement on the  congested thoroughfare between Jefferson and Western. 

The interruption affected thousands of riders headed to work on what has proven to be the best day of the young 2016. Police reported that a 55-year-old man was dead on the scene due to an apparent suicide that occurred at 6:55 AM.